CHARLOTTE -- The Carolina Panthers have just hours to keep first-round picks missing practice from becoming a trend.
Last summer, Jon Beason became the first first-rounder of general manager Marty Hurney's reign to miss time in training camp (eight days before he signed). This year, they've got a day to get running back Jonathan Stewart and tackle Jeff Otah under wraps.
"I have no idea," general manager Marty Hurney said Thursday night when asked how close the two picks were to deals. "We're still talking, but other than that, there's really nothing to say.
These things traditionally take until the final moments.
In 2006, DeAngelo Williams agreed late the Thursday before camp and signed the day players reported. In 2005, Thomas Davis agreed the Thursday before, while 2004 pick Chris Gamble was a late-night Friday transaction, as was Jordan Gross in 2003. In 2002, Julius Peppers signed the Monday before camp.
In fact, they've had more trouble with second-rounders than firsts in recent memory. In 2003, Bruce Nelson missed the first two practices before he signed a day late, while running backs Eric Shelton (2005) and DeShaun Foster (2002) both pushed into the night before practice before they came to terms.